August 30, 2013

Struggle and Frustration

Dear M,

I have been feeling very low for the past few days. I am working hard, but there are no real results to show. Do you know how relieving it is to be able to talk to you regarding this? But even the relief is temporary. The weight returns to my chest sooner rather than later.

Sometimes the pain is too much that I want to stop writing and move on. But even as I say it, I know I don't believe in it. I cannot stop - I am like an addict who wants to give up. The addict never really wants to give up, it is just that a grain of practical sense in his head tells him it is better for his own health that he quit now. But most of the time when I feel this way I try to go back to writing. It does not take the pain away, but it distracts me and makes me alive. I love what I write, you know. I like to believe I have talent. A little rugged, perhaps, and raw and untamed, but talent nonetheless. The best part is, when I feel so strongly about the part I am writing, I feel it has come alive. I like it when it brings tears to my eyes. But I am not sure if the tears are only because it is so convincing.

But what I wanted to talk to you about was this frustration. I feel slightly better when I read that famous and successful authors have had long periods of failure before they found their feet. It is encouraging to know that we are not the only ones and that failure is an essential homework to success, but it is also unsettling to think that there may be many nerve-wracking years before we find ours.

A baby born into this world normally comes out screaming. The effort must be painful but he has to go through that test if he has to reach this world. Makes us feel our world is pretty special, eh? The luckier ones (though the Moms aren't lucky) get to be taken out through a C-section. Doctors come to the womb where you live, request you to come out and help you emerge - without much of a struggle. Just as so, a normal writer has to struggle and fight and push his way through the narrow, oppressing tunnel to find some light - and the life after that isn't a bed of roses either! For a few lucky ones, publishers and agents come to you, and help you step out to the world of writing. People make time to operate so that they can hold you in their arms. All your crying is probably to be done later in life. Oh, that sounds nasty.

This struggle is essential. It could be over in thirty minutes or eight hours. No one can say! A happy writer does not make a very good writer, I think. Every evidence we see across nature shows us so. Apparently the caterpillar goes through a life of pain before it emerges as a butterfly. We are stretching ourselves so that we can see inside our characters. The pain shows us the darkness in our own mind, its capabilities to do good and bad. It is the extent and depth of this darkness inside that decide our colours as we emerge as a butterfly.

Sometimes it scares me, this darkness. It could pull me in, you know.

The more the struggle, the better - the results will be sweeter and the happiness, well-deserved. But I doubt if the baby would ever appreciate it.


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